Firms’ Financing Constraints: Do Perceptions Match the Actual Situation?


  • Annalisa Ferrando European Central Bank, Frankfurt
  • Klaas Mulier Ghent University


finance, firms, Europe


This paper draws on the SAFE survey on access to finance for a sample of 11,886 firms in the Euro Area which are matched with their nearest neighbour in a balance sheet dataset with 2.3 million firms. We investigate the role of firm characteristics with respect to firms’ perceived financing constraints and actual financing constraints in the period 2009-2011. Low-profit firms are more likely to face actual financing constraints. Low working capital and high leverage ratios explain actual financing constraints to a lesser extent. Further, firms are more likely to perceive access to finance problematic when they have more debt with short-term maturity. Finally, firm age, but not size, is important in explaining both the perceived and the actual financial constraints.